New years are customarily accompanied by resolutions — and United Capital’s Joe Duran recently gave advisors three years’ worth. “We are in one of the most disruptive times for business in the world that we have ever seen,” Duran, CEO of United Capital, told advisors in early December, advising them in his quietly passionate way that if they failed in the next three years to embrace the digital disruption ahead, they’ll be done for.
“If we think that three years from now we can keep operating the same way, I’m here to tell you that you won’t be growing if you do,” he told attendees at the MarketCounsel Summit in Miami Beach.
“The greatest thing about disruption is that the old ways of working no longer work, which means there are massive opportunities for new ways of working — and your competition is as lost as you are.”
Advisors, he proclaimed, have a huge opportunity to grab market share “if you can figure out how to do things differently.”
He suggested that to still be relevant in three years’ time, advisors will not only have to change how they interact with clients, but also how they deliver and charge for their services, while also ensuring they’re delivering a myriad of investing options.
The merging of technology and people, Duran maintained, “is going to be how you win. I call it the bionic advisor; it’s like being Ironman. You can no longer be a human and compete” against another human who “has the machinery […]; we are all going to have to be machine-powered but human led.”
While everyone is feverishly focused on the millennials as the tech-savvy generation, Duran went against the grain in arguing that it’s actually Gen Xers — or “the bridge generation,” as he called them — who will indicate what will be successful in the tech/business realm.
Gen Xers’ children teach them how to use today’s devices (iPhones and iPads) as well as social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but when Gen Xers adopt a new technology and a “new way of operating, they automatically teach their parents,” Duran said.
While millennials will continue to be the “early adopters,” they are not the generation “who will predict what’s successful. Uber, Amazon, Facebook; they were only successful when my wife started using them, and we all started to consume them, not when my daughters started to use them,” he argued.
The technologies “that make money and last are the ones that we [Gen Xers] adopt,” he added, stating that the primary goal for Gen Xers who have kids in high school or college and parents who are just beginning to leave the workforce can be summed up in one word: convenience.
“The way that we interact with the world will change simply because of the convenience alone,” Duran said.
Lessons From Silicon Valley
Relating what he has learned during one of his frequent visits to Google, Amazon and Facebook (his firm is headquartered in Newport Beach, California), Duran recalled the past “broadcast” age of information that relied on television to deliver the news. Next was the “age of information,” in which Gen Xers grew up with access to information “whenever and however they wanted it” with the internet allowing for such access and consumption.
Today, he continued, we’ve entered the “great age of participation, where news is created and shared by us.”
The mindset “has shifted in every single industry — Starbucks, Nike or at any bank — and what everyone is doing is empowering consumers to participate in the experience.”